Friday, February 15, 2013

Random Valentine's Day Craft: Dinosaur Matchbox


I'm back with another easy little craft that I made a few days ago... Decorated matchboxes! Not just any kind of matchbox, one that stands upright and is carried by a little painted Triceratops!  What does it mean?  Nothing, it's just funky and cute.  Warning: you'll be seeing lots more painted plastic animals + crafts + art in the near future (I'm officially obsessed). 

I photographed this random creation in the same Valentine's Day decor setting with the heart-shaped doily garland that I made and showed you in this post. Since I had just finished making that garland and I wanted to keep chooglin', I grabbed a pack of matchboxes from an old dollar store pack of twelve that I've had lying around for ages and put my thinking cap on. I have quite a few metal decorative boxes that are made for matchboxes, you slide them on and they serve as a decorative functional piece to have on coffee tables for candles, incense and so on. I've also seen many decorative matchboxes while browsing Pinterest, so I've been wanting to make my own and you know it had to be unique. I've been working on an art project that involves painted plastic animals (oh you gonna hear about that as soon as I'm done,) so I've had a bunch of those scattered about...  As I laid eyes on the plastic dinosaurs in the pile an idea started to brew! This is what I came up with...

Catherine
xoxo


I cut that little dino in half - I recommend using a great little tool called a Dremel Rotary Tool Kit
 After you make the cut you'll have rough edges, so take an x-acto blade and carefully shave off or even out any snags or drastic imbalances in the plastic.   This is a picture of a different animal, but you can see what I mean...


Then you prime and spray paint that little guy whatever color you like...  For the primer I chose Rust-oleum Painter's Touch 2x Coverage and for the color I chose Rust-oleum Metallic Gold to match the detail in my decorative paper...


I am using the turquoise color for another project, though I almost used it for another dinosaur matchbox - another day perhaps.  So after after a few light coats of gold, I had this...


That Triceratops became very charming little guy, especially once I glued his head and butt to the front and back of a matchbox that I covered in pretty pink and gold craft paper.  He's a little crooked because the super glue dried faster than I had a chance to notice...


Now that I'm looking at it in photographs, what brother me more is not that he is crooked, but that the front looks a bit plain, no?  I should add something to it...  I did contemplate adding a witty phrase to tie the dinosaur in with the love theme, but I couldn't think of anything except "Dino Love" and my man said that was ridiculous.  Ha!  Any suggestions? :)



I created a little handle/pull on the interior part of the matchbox using ribbon, for easy access.  I  used an x-acto knife to cut a small slit in the top of the matchbox, then pilled through a piece of looped turquoise ribbon and glued it down.  I later covered that glued down part with a piece of decorative craft paper, as you can see above.

Then I made another matchbox, but I made it normal (horizontal that is) and filled it with Valentine's M&M's...


Of course, then I stacked 'em and continued to snap away...


The backside of the matchbox features the backside of the Triceratops, along with a felt "LOVE" decal from a dollar store craft package, and small piece of a pink heart-shaped paper doily glued towards the bottom...



In the words of my darling Larry David, pretty...pretty...pretty good!  I love him!

  
(All images in this post are my personal photographs, please do not reuse them without my written permission - InspireBohemia(at)gmail.com - thank you!)

Strawberry Cupcake Recipe + Valentine's Day Crafts and Decorating...


Hi there, I'm back with that Strawberry Cupcake recipe that I promised you.  I know I'm a little late for Valentine's Day, but since these moist and tasty rascals are good any time of the year I figured you wouldn't mind!  

How was your Valentine's Day?  Mine was low-key, like we wanted it!  We had an early dinner at Cheesecake Factory (because we've played out our favorite Thai places lately) and just hung out watching The Office and Parks and Recreation the rest of the night until bed time *eyebrow wiggle*...  It was perfect!  Ah, love!  The pressure to go all out is heavy on Valentine's Day, but I say do whatever makes you happy - even if that includes taking it super easy!  After all, we should show our love every single day, so this one day a year is just like any other day.

Back to the moist Strawberry cupcakes and Valentine's Day crafts and decor, here is how it all went down...

Catherine
xoxo


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees for dark or coated pans (350 degrees for other pans)....

Cupcake ingredients:
1 box of Duncan Hines Strawberry Supreme Cake Mix
1/3 cup oil (I used Organic Virgin Coconut Oil)
1/3 cup Buttermilk
1 cup Milk
3 eggs

Of course, you can modify this recipe however you want, substitute liquids for other liquids and oil for different oil, etc.  For example, instead of 1-1/3 cups of canola or vegetable oil, I used Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.  I have wanting to try it for some time...  A local cupcake place makes delicious cupcakes with coconut oil and I decided it might make all the difference!  Coconut Oil is really healthy for you, though you should make sure it is cold-pressed - I've read that cold-pressed oil (all oil) is better than expeller-pressed not just in flavor, but because the refinement process involves lower heat and fewer chemicals.  Anyway, I found my glass jar of Coconut Oil for $5.99 at TJMaxx Homegoods, here it is.....  

PS - I'm not sure if you have to, but I melted mine down so it would incorporate better into the batter and so I could measure it easier....

     


As for milk, I was only going to use Buttermilk, but then I decided it might be too much and only used a 1/3 cup, and milk (2%) for the remaining one cup of liquid.  However you decide to make yours, the preparation is still simple:  blend all cupcake ingredients with a hand mixer for two minutes on medium speed, then immediately pour into lined cups of pan and bake for 18-21 minutes at the pre-heated temperature noted above.  Basically, as soon as a knife pulls out of the cupcake clean you can take them out of the oven.

So, two batches later I had these beauties...


While your cupcakes are baking and cooling, make the frosting...

Frosting Ingredients:

1 package room temperature Cream Cheese

1 small container of Strawberry Cream Cheese
2 cups sifted Powdered Sugar
5 tablespoons of Butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 teaspoons Strawberry Jam
2 teaspoons Strawberry Jello powder mix
1 teaspoon Lemon juice

Whisk all the ingredients together, cover, and then chill in your refrigerator until your cupcakes are completely cooled....  You don't want runny frosting! ;)

As you can see, I went koo-koo creative with the frosting ingredients in order to achieve the most strawberry-tastic flavor. I wanted a cream cheese based frosting because I like the flavor of cheese and strawberries - that goes back to when I was a kid and I always ordered the Cheese Blintzes with strawberries at our favorite breakfast place.

I browsed a lot of recipes online, but it was this one that gave me the idea to use Strawberry Jell-o powder - both for color and flavor (I couldn't find the cream Jell-o suggested, so I used the regular kind).  The jam idea was one I came across in several online recipes, but the Strawberry Cream Cheese idea was all mine...  All three of those ingredients came together in a really delicious way!  Instead of butter you might be able to use Coconut Oil for this step too, I forgot to experiment with that.  Be sure to add the Vanilla extract for extra yumminess and the Lemon juice for a much needed fresh zing!


This is when I had only iced and decorated four cupcakes... At first I was torn: to ice all the way to the edge or not to ice to the edge? I didn't want things to get messy fast, so I opted for not icing to the edge.  Also, a note to myself: after this cupcake photoshoot I understand why so many out there use that extra paper baking cup - to cover up the greasy baked one - duh Catherine! Oh well, next time.  As for the actual icing process...


...you can see, I'm no pro! I didn't have an icing bag with fancy tips, so I used the old zip-lock bag method. I'm not really crazy about that method - you know, cramming all the icing in with a spatula...  Plus, I always find that I never snip the tip of the bag big enough, thereby landing myself in a squeeze struggle come icing time. I know I know, first world problems alert... Please forgive me!  Regardless, I'm really quite pleased with the way they turned out... ;)


To make the heart garnishment, I sliced a Strawberry in half and then carved out a "v" from the top middle of the slice - rounding the edges when needed.  It turned out pretty adorable!

    
Towards the end of the batch I felt more comfortable with experimenting, hence the squiggly design on the left and the messy X O in the foreground...

    

Then, because I didn't have the energy to make the Red Velvet cupcakes that I'd originally planned...  I jazzed up some Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts by creating a pink icing with a little bit of milk whisked into powdered sugar (and a drop of pink food coloring), then drizzling it back and forth on top...  I even tried a heart on one...


I know, super healthy right?  Not!  But, super delicious and pretty?  Check...


And then I made some garland out of heart-shaped paper doilies from the dollar store and some white string....


It took about five minutes, it's super simple yet the results are pretty awesome!


Let's just say it might be up for a while!  :) 

Check out what else the dollar store had!  At first it looked cheesy because of the glitter, but in the right setting I knew this little owl could shine! The Mason jar full of Sweethearts candy makes him look good...


At this point I was just obsessed with staging pretty things and taking photos...  Maybe I should be a photo stylist one day, staging decor and food - that would be awesome!


Using simple props, with heart-shaped doilies and candy from the dollar store, I made some lovely Valentine's Day decor for my desk...

    

Sweet!

(All images in this post are my personal photographs, please do not use them without my written permission - InspireBohemia(at)gmail.com - thank you!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Inspiration




Well, tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and even though I'm not really gung-ho about the holiday, I love the decorating aspect of it!  I also love gathering pretty things to inspire you!  If you didn't already see it, today I posted a sneak-peek photo on the Inspire Bohemia Facebook page of the delicious Strawberry Cupcakes that I made last night. I was at the grocery store the other night picking up a few things when I saw that the Duncam Hines cake mixes were buy one get one free.... The Strawberry Supreme and Red Velvet mixes jumped at my eyes from the store shelf and I got inspired to make cupcakes and decorate them!

After a long Pinterest trance, I finally decided that I would just see where my own creativity took me. I wasn't planning anything fancy, after all I'm no professional cake decorator, however I wanted these cupcakes to look pretty... Well, they came out beautiful and delicious - double score!  Anyway, I'll be posting that recipe with pictures and my step-by-step process later on after I get back from an exam I have today from 2-4:40pm. 

So, for now I'll leave you with some great decorating and baking ideas that I found on Pinterest, hopefully this post will inspire you to get a little creative....  Look around your house and use what you have, you'd be surprised how much you can find to work with once you look around with the V-Day eye.. haha! ;)

I'll be back later with my Strawberry Cupcake recipe!

Catherine
xoxo

Valentine's Day posts of the past:




















Source: flickr.com via Inspire on Pinterest




Source: gifts.com via Inspire on Pinterest








Source: tidymom.net via Inspire on Pinterest


















































































































(All images in this post were sourced and linked via Pinterest, I do not claim ownership of these images or ideas, I share them as inspiration.)
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